Installing shut-off switch for electric stove

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Old 12-02-09, 01:35 PM
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Installing shut-off switch for electric stove

I need to install a shut-off switch for the electric stove & cooktop unit in my mother's home. This is an elder care issue. My mother forgets to turn off the stove. We want to install a switch in the other room (opposite wall) so she can't use the stove, yet make it available to turn on for the caretakers that come over and prepare meals. I don't want to use the breaker box because it would get old running up and down the stairs every time.

I'm planning on doing the work myself. I poked around and saw that the stove is plugged into an outlet that is mounted on the floor against the wall. At best I'm hoping that that there is enough slack in the wiring so I can move the wire bundle to a switch that I'll mount about a foot or two from the present outlet location. Then I'll run some wire to the existing outlet from the switch.

What should I look for in regards to switch design and capacity, and what size wiring should I look for?
 
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Old 12-02-09, 02:06 PM
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The only issue with your plan is the disconnect (the switch) would have to be rated 60 amps. This will not be your run of the mill toggle switch, but a disconnect similar to one you have near an air conditioner. This is a cheap version: http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/Hom...da0a86e9_4.jpg It is not going to be very pretty. I'm sorry to say your best option is to run up and down the stairs.

To answer your other question about the wire, it will be #8 or #6 (about the size of a pencil.)
 
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Old 12-02-09, 02:10 PM
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Because of the size of the electric stove circuit you are limited in the options for switching it. There also may be a code issue at play here if the home is older than about 1996 as the rules for ranges changed about then. Can you tell us what wiring is currently run to the range? Gauge, number and color of wires, type of metal (copper or aluminum) and breaker or fuse size?

One option is to use a relay (contactor) and low voltage control circuit. Another option is to get a commercial 60A switch like one of these http://www.hubbellcatalog.com/wiring...s/page_C20.pdf however this type of equipment is usually kinda pricey. A final option may be to simply continue to use the breaker or to mount a new subpanel in a more convenient location and use the breaker in that panel to switch off the range. The downside with this final option is that you will probably not be able to re-use any of the existing wiring which may be possible with the previous two methods.

I don't think that a cheap A/C disconnect is right here because these are only designed for occasional use, typically not under load. I assume your range disconnect will be used at least daily maybe a couple times daily so the heavy duty switch is a much safer option.
 
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Old 12-02-09, 11:13 PM
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one thing to think about ipbooks...the disconnect wont be disconnected or connected while the stove is on.........only to keep grandma from turning it on when the stove is off..... so a 60 amp copper AC disconnect could work...


Is the stove digital? you could possibly install a lockout/keyswitch on the control circuit...
 
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Old 12-02-09, 11:33 PM
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The problem, as I see it, is what is to prevent your mother from merely turning on this separate switch unless the caregivers use a padlock on it and further, how can you be sure the caregivers will always open this separate switch?

It would be a little on the expensive side but I would be inclined to install a timer and contactor that would require pushing a button to initiate a timing cycle sufficient for whatever the caregivers need to cook the meal and then the timer would release the contactor and remove power from the stove. This way even if your mother pushed the timing initiate button the stove would still go off at the end of the timing cycle.

Another way, still using the contactor, would be to have a time clock that would only allow the contactor to close during the specific times the caregivers were in attendance.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 09:21 PM
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or a low voltage coil contactor with a simple key switch?? then you and the care givers could both have a copy of the key...
 
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Old 12-03-09, 10:06 PM
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Jeez... I forget to turn off the stove and I ain't a grandpa yet....

Maybe invest in a nice microwave that is not too complicated to operate.... Only problem with that is ... I think of my gandma and her bond to her old GE stove. If I would have tried to keep her from using that stove I would probably be " pushin up daisies".

There aint a switch made outside of one that is explosion proof that she wouldn't figure out how to defeat. I can see you now coming down those stairs only to meet the backside of a shovel....

Now to get serious there are special stove switches that were developed for your situation and I have no idea how many manufacturers there are or types. I'll give you a link to one but they are not cheap and I also do not know of the quality...

This one requires a 4 wire branch circuit to a nema 14-50R range receptacle

STOVE GUARD - Ordering
 

Last edited by Bruto; 12-03-09 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 12-04-09, 09:02 AM
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Interesting it seems to rely on motion detection in the kitchen like an occupancy switch. If the care giver needs only a couple of burners and no oven for cooking maybe a two burner good quality hot plate and high wattage occupancy switch would do. Then just turn off the stove breaker. It would have to be hard wired to prevent plugging into another receptacle. You couldn't just put the occupancy switch on a receptacle. That might be a code violation. Might have to use a relay with 120v coil to get a reasonably priced occupancy switch.

Or if you can find a 120v key operated switch why not a relay with a 120v coil to turn the stove on and off. The key switch would control the coil.

Simplest of all. A hot plate that the care giver locks up in a storage cabinet when she leaves and the stove off at the breaker box.
 
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Old 12-09-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Kestas View Post
I need to install a shut-off switch for the electric stove & cooktop unit in my mother's home. This is an elder care issue. My mother forgets to turn off the stove. We want to install a switch in the other room (opposite wall) so she can't use the stove, yet make it available to turn on for the caretakers that come over and prepare meals. I don't want to use the breaker box because it would get old running up and down the stairs every time.

I'm planning on doing the work myself. I poked around and saw that the stove is plugged into an outlet that is mounted on the floor against the wall. At best I'm hoping that that there is enough slack in the wiring so I can move the wire bundle to a switch that I'll mount about a foot or two from the present outlet location. Then I'll run some wire to the existing outlet from the switch.

What should I look for in regards to switch design and capacity, and what size wiring should I look for?
A simple switch for this would be a Leviton MS602. There is also an enclosure for this with a hasp for a padlock to prevent operation. Cost would be around $150-200.
 
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Old 12-10-09, 06:42 AM
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You guys have given a wonderful selection of options, technical and otherwise. I - together with the caretakers that visit - have decided it's best to either use the lockout feature on the stove (didn't think to check!) or to use the existing breaker in the basement panel. I see this as only a temporary situation with our family anyhow, and this would incur the least expense and trouble. My mother likely won't be able to defeat these measures.
 
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Old 12-10-09, 09:22 AM
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Hope it works out well for you. I have a relative in a similar situation, and I understand that it's challenging.
 
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Old 03-08-10, 09:26 AM
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Smile Electric Range safety shutoff switch

I have a similar situation with my wife who has sometimes turned on the range without thinking (she has had a stroke and should not be doing this). I believe I have an inexpensive and easy solution. Leviton makes a DPST switch which is about the same size as a normal wall switch but can handle 240 volts and 40 amps (MS402). Looking at my range (Kenmore), I find that the control panel can be easily removed and the 240 volt feed is accessible. I plan to mount the switch in the end of the control panel (lots of room) between the feed wires and the wires to the burners. I also plan to include a 110 volt lcd light on one leg of the switched circuit to remind me that the stove is alive. The Leviton switch is about $100 on the internet but I found one on eBay (used) for about $25. Seems like a good safety move. Burns to anyone are bad news!
 
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Old 03-08-10, 10:50 AM
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To switch from an electrical solution to a mechanical one , would preventing acess to the control- switches be a feasible solution.?

Possibly a removable and secured-in-place metal plate that conceals the control-switches.
 
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Old 03-08-10, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BWWilk View Post
Leviton makes a DPST switch which is about the same size as a normal wall switch but can handle 240 volts and 40 amps (MS402).
I'd check with a technical person at Leviton before using that switch for the range. It's labeled for use as a motor starting switch which implies that the 40A (5HP) rating is for short duration only during motor startup. It probably cannot handle continuous resistive load, all the specs are given for inductive loads.

A 40A contactor with 120V low amp switching circuit is probably a better (and cheaper) solution.
 
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Old 03-08-10, 08:48 PM
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A 40A contactor with 120V low amp switching circuit is probably a better (and cheaper) solution.
I agree. A definite purpose 2 pole contactor with 120 volt coil is the only way to go. Install it near the panel in a screw cover enclosure and run a 120 volt, 20 amp circuit to a keyed switch in a cut-in box upstairs. The switch controls the coil on the contactor and the contactor interrupts the range circuit. I'd match the contact rating to the breaker amperage on the electric range circuit whether it be 40 or 50 amps. Give a key to the caregiver.
 
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